The Purpose of Yoga: The Difference between Happiness and Control
By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Yoga PoseSometimes, non-practitioners have accused Yoga of teaching self-absorption at the expense of everyone else. The theory is that all of this meditating, physical self-mastery, and inner peace, create a selfish individual, who is in pursuit of happiness, without regard for anyone else.
Despite the attempts of fundamentalist organizations to stereo-type or categorize Yoga practitioners, their attempts have been frustrated by the fact that Yoga is practiced worldwide. In fact, Yoga practitioners include people of every religion, race, color, gender, age, and nationality.
If you passed a law to stop people from practicing Yoga, they would practice at home. This has happened in the past, and will continue to happen, when fundamentalists or dictators tell people how to think. Intolerance of others, and outside ideas, is one of humankind’s greatest sins.
Intolerance stems from the desire to control everything. If you look at the dark ages of Europe, you can see how human medical, scientific, and technological progress was stifled by intolerance for centuries. This is just one example of many that have occurred across the globe.
Has humankind learned anything from past mistakes? People are killed every day for being different. How we worship, what we look like, and our nationality can cost us our lives, because it might be different from those who have control for the moment.
Now, let’s look closer at Yoga. How can Yoga undermine the control of a dictator or a fundamentalist group? Yoga reinforces the teachings of tolerance, peace, kindness, understanding, loving kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. All of this love, peace, and happiness can be a problem if you want to create a division among people.
How could a war monger, or a fundamentalist, stir up a crowd of happy peace-loving Yogis? This is the root of the problem for those who seek to gain control of power. This is why there will be attempts to control Yoga. Yet, these attempts will be frustrated because you cannot kill a good idea.
What can Yoga practitioners do to prevent intolerance and hate crimes? Once again, the answer is within all of us. Lead by example and put kindness and tolerance into practice. We affect our families and those who come into contact with us.
Yoga reveals the truth of our life purpose and that is to spread happiness, even during sad times. Unfortunately, there is a guarantee that each of us must experience suffering in some way or form, but Yoga will help us to manage the pain with inner bliss. The path toward happiness is right in front of each of us. If we choose to show loving kindness to others, it will return to us.
© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Yogic Approach To Thyroid
By Dr Rita Khanna
Yogic Approach To ThyroidThyroid is one of the larger endocrine glands in the body which produces hormones. It is located in the neck and and has a shape of a butterfly. It weighs around 16 to 24 gms. The manufacture of thyroid hormones depends on the presence of iodine in our body. The food we eat has many salts. Out of this, iodine element reaches the thyroid gland through blood. These manufactured nutritive hormones circulate in the blood and reach various organs of the body & enhance the activity of metabolism in the body. Thence all the organs and tissues connected with the organs and its metabolism get activated. Out of the iodine sucked and collected by the gland, hormones named T3 (tri-iodo – thyronin) and T4 (Thyroxin) are manufactured that regulate the rate of metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body. When the thyroid gland functions lesser than required, this condition is called Hypothyroidism. However if thyroid works more than required amount that condition is known as Hyperthyroidism. When the gland works properly it is known as Euthyroidism.
Symptoms of hypo-thyroidism disorder are overweight, lethargy, loss of hair, scaling away of the skin, swelling in parts of the body, the body suddenly getting cold, changes in hunger pattern etc. People with this disorder should avoid cabbage & lady finger. Symptoms of hyper-thyroidism disorder are nervous tension, an increased mental activity, uncontrollable body movements, an increase in heartbeat & pulse rate, excessive sweating, loss of weight & jutting out of eyeballs in certain cases. People with this disorder should eat more of cabbage & lady finger.
Yoga & Thyroid
Regular Yoga practice & Pranayama help to nourish & balance the thyroid by bringing fresh oxygenated blood into the area & flushing out old blood & toxins. The best benefits of yoga for people with any form of thyroid disease come from regular practice of an overall program of yoga. There are some specific poses and pranayamas that are very beneficial for thyroid. They are known as Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Halasana, Sinhasana, Surya Namaskar, Pawanmuktasana, Yoga Mudra, Neck Exercise, Omkar, Bhramari, Nadi Shodhana, Ujjai pranayama and Jalandhara Bandha.
The practices of Ujjayi Pranayama & Matsyasana have had beneficial effects on the thyroid. While doing these two practices, focus your mind on the throat, the effects will be more. If you are not confident of any of the exercises, please ask your instructor for guidance.
Matsyasana / Fish Pose
Matsyasana / Fish PoseIn this posture, we get pressure on the neck. It works & energizes the thyroid gland, strengthens the abdomen and opens your throat chakra. Metabolism balances and immune system is boosted.
- Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent.
- Inhale, lift your hips slightly off the floor and put your hands under your tailbone with your palms facing the floor, your thumbs touching each other.
- Now rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands (don’t lift them off your hands as you perform this pose). Try to adjust your forearms and elbows under the spine properly.
- While pressing your forearms and elbows firmly against the floor, inhale, draw your head backward and place the top of the head on the floor.
- Deepen the arch by lifting the chest up.
- Your weight should rest on your elbows. There should be a minimal amount of weight on your head.
- Breathe normally all the while, keeping your legs and lower torso relaxed.
- To come out of the pose, exhale, lift your head and place it gently back down, then release the arms.
Ujjayi Pranayama stimulates thyroid gland to work normally.
Sit in any comfortable posture with the spine, head & neck in one straight line. You can keep your hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra Posture (join the tips of the index fingers to the tips of the thumbs while keeping the other fingers extended & loose). Close your eyes gently & relax all the muscles. Spend a few moments being aware of your natural breath as it passes in and out of the nose.
- Closing the mouth, slowly draw in air through both the nostrils producing a sound in such a way that while inhaling the touch of air is felt in the throat to the chest. The sound is as if wind blows with pressure. The sound should be uniform and continuous.
- It means that after inhaling the breath through the nose, the passage of the incoming air is felt on the roof of the palate first, then towards the throat (bring your mind to the throat and feel the contraction in the throat), after that to the lungs. Then fill the lungs up to the brim.
- During inhalation, do not allow abdomen to bulge out, let the chest expand.
- After completing inhalation, slowly exhale. During exhalation chest should go inside and abdomen should remain steady.
- While exhaling, the passage of the outgoing air should be felt on the roof of the palate.
- The process described above completes one cycle of Ujjayi Pranayama.
- Repeat the cycles for five to ten minutes keeping the eyes closed.
- With each breath say to yourself mentally that I am getting improvement.
- Then lie on the floor for Shavasana.
- Ujjayi Pranayama can also be done while lying down on the floor. This pranayama can be done at any time of the day and night.
- After practising it for few days, knowing your limitations, keep the ratio between inhalation and exhalation 1: 2.
Balancing of the emotions and giving a suitable outlet for their expression is an important part of yoga therapy for thyroid disease. Yoga abhyasa and mental exposure will give you a boon of perfect, happy and composed health.The three-pronged approach of Yoga-abhyasa, a specialist Doctor’s advice and positive frame of mind will cure your Thyroid complications completely & you’ll live healthily thereafter.
If you feel inspired by this article, feel free to publish it in your Newsletter or on your Website. Our humble request is to please include the Resource as follows: Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio. A popular studio that helps you find natural solutions for complete health and detoxification.
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Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into his discipline over two decades ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh.
She believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is teaching Yoga in Secunderabad. She has been treating and curing various diseases and disorders through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy and has been achieving tremendous satisfaction in disseminating this virtue.